Fall Tour of Europe - 2015
Melancholy Mood - Live - Basel - November 13, 2015
Where Are You - Live - Copenhagen - October 8, 2015
The Night We Called It A Day - Live - Hamburg - November 9, 2015
Why Try To Change Me Now - Live - Hamburg - November 9, 2015
Full Moon & Empty Arms - Live - London - October 22, 2015
All Or Nothing At All - Live - Saarbrucken - October 17, 2015
Come Rain Or Come Shine - Live - Basel - November 14, 2015
I'm A Fool To Want You - Live - Bregenz - November 16, 2015
What'll I Do - Live - Copenhagen - October 8, 2015
Autumn Leaves - Live - Oslo - October 1, 2015
Welcome to a special installment of the Thousand Highways Collection. By special request, I turned my attention to Bob Dylan's covers on his 2015 Fall Tour of Europe. There was quite a bit to pick through, since he and the band performed about seven of these each night, and most nights were recorded.
Choosing the best recordings was the greatest challenge. As can sometimes be taken for granted, the excellent tapers were out with their recording gear throughout the tour. Bach, Spot, RCM, JOY, hhtfp, and Hide presented the songs in lovely sound quality, though the specific sonic landscape changed from night to night. I sought to capture the best tracks in terms of performance, which required significant effort from the singer, and the warmest audio presence. While supremely clean, digital recording does not always present a warm landscape naturally, so some tweaking was necessary at times. I hope I have not caused any harm to the recordings, but for the purest form, as ever, listeners should seek out the source tapes.
One of the greatest obstacles for this set was a cold that Dylan seems to have developed in mid-October. In person, and on the harder-rocking songs, the effect would likely be fairly unnoticeable. On the crystal-clear recordings of these ballads, however, the illness could detract from the singer's central role. Most of the tapes from the middle of the tour, then, were taken out of consideration. This eliminated an otherwise excellent rendition of the title track, "Melancholy Mood," from the Paris show on October 19th, among others. By early November, happily, Dylan's voice had again cleared.
The most intriguing songs are those that had not yet been released on Bob Dylan's wonderful 2015 LP, Shadows In The Night. Three such songs were played: "Melancholy Mood," "Come Rain Or Come Shine," and "All Or Nothing At All." Each was rumored to have been recorded for that record, and studio renditions may yet surface in the coming years. Until then, these great live performances will need to tide us over. Unfortunately, three songs recorded for the aforementioned record were not played: "Stay With Me," "Some Enchanted Evening," and "Lucky Old Sun." You can find live renditions of the first and last of these on Things Have Changed - 2014 and Shadows & Rust - Summer 2015, respectively. "Some Enchanted Evening" has not yet been played live as of December, 2015. Though I endeavor not to tip my personal preferences too much, my favorite tracks are likely the last two. This recording of "What'll I Do" epitomizes the warm sound I was seeking, and the final track, "Autumn Leaves," may be Bob Dylan's finest and most committed vocals on the set.
While I hope everyone enjoys this new, abbreviated collection, I especially hope that I have lived up to the expectations of the listeners who requested the album. I've dedicated quite a bit of time to this project, and would like to submit it to you all as something of a Christmas gift. Thanks for visiting A Thousand Highways in 2015, and I look forward to presenting more content to you in the coming year.
Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.